Showing posts from October, 2016

Book quote of the day: Lev Grossman

This was my writing routine today: sit for a few minutes before the screen, pull books down from the shelves to re-read favorite passages; check Twitter, drink tea, pace around. Repeat. This was one of the books I pulled down from the shelf: The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman. The last in a trilogy of books that I love—a series that moved me deeply and changed how I write. I opened the book to a quote I’d underlined: “She was too tired to feel anything more, she wanted a book to do to her what books did: take away the world, slide it aside for a little bit, and let her please, please just be somewhere and somebody else.” Yes. That’s what books have always been for me: a magic that takes me elsewhere and allows me to be, even if just for a few moments, somebody else.   

Review: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

As an ex-scientist who has at times dipped into the scientist-writer blogosphere (yes, there is such a thing), I had heard of the name Hope Jahren. I think I read one or two of her entertaining, funnier blog posts. I read a powerful op-ed piece she wrote in the New York Times about the sexism many women face in science. But none of this prepared me for her memoir, Lab Girl. I did not expect the lyricism with which Jahren writes of her childhood in Minnesota: the winter nights that she accompanied her father to his physics lab at a community college, which seemed a wonderland to the little girl. The tangible coldness she evokes when she writes of walking back home with her father afterward, through the Minnesota snow. I did not expect the lyrical evocation of a different type of coldness: the emotional distances within her reserved Scandinavian family. But just as I was settling in for a literary memoir of the quietly lyrical mode, the story changed. Dr. Jahren is a profes